By Grant McGee: Local columnist
“If we can grow a garden, we can grow our own fish,” proclaimed The Lady of the House, walking in our front door from the supermarket.
“Well, hello to you, too,” I said with a smile. “What’s that all about.”
“I just bought frozen fish from China. China! Can I trust frozen fish from China?”
“Well, I’m sure our country has inspectors who check this stuff as it comes off the ship,” I said.
“Is there a Food and Drug Administration in China?”
“I’m sure this stuff is perfectly fine,” I said as I helped her unpack the groceries.
“Yeah, well, I bought it, but I don’t have a lot of confidence in the stuff,” she said.
About that time I uncovered a package of crawfish she had bought.
“You’re going to fix crawfish etouffe’, eh?” I said. Just saying the words brought back memories of passing through Louisiana. “Crawdads, straight from Louisiana.”
“Read the package,” said The Lady of the House.
“Packaged in China!” I exclaimed with a furrowed brow. I held chopped up Chinese crayfish in my hands, imported by some company in Louisiana. The realization left me feeling kind of empty. The key ingredient for one of the most wonderful American ethnic dishes wasn’t even harvested from those vast crawdad ponds that dot the Cajun landscape.
“If our crawdads come from China, what next?”
“Like I said, if we can raise a garden we can raise fish in our back yard,” said The Lady of the House.
A fish ranch in our back yard. I told her tilapia was a good choice, known for being tasty and easy to raise just about anywhere.
We went out to the patio and she pointed to a corner of the fence. “We could put a cattle tank there, a pump and filtration system and raise a bunch of tilapia.”
I smiled then I got a blank look on my face.
“What?” asked The Lady of the House.
“Well,” I said, “somebody’ll have to kill them so we can eat them.”
“That’d be you,” she said.
“I can’t kill them,” I said. “We will have raised them and when I come to feed them they’ll swarm and look up with hungry eyes.”
“Come on, you’ve gone fishing, haven’t you?” she said.
“Yeah, but those were strange fish, we didn’t know each other,” I said.
There was a long moment of silence. The Lady of the House stared at me with a facial expression that seemed to indicate she was questioning whether my elevator went all the way to the top, so to speak.
“It’s a fish!,” she exclaimed. “What did Red on ‘That ’70s Show’ say about fish? ‘They’re just barely alive anyway.’”
“What’s going on?” asked Justin, The Lady of the House’s son, as he came in through the back door.
“We’re thinking about raising fish in the back yard,” she said. “But neither one of us wants to kill them.”
“What’s the big deal?” he said. “I’ll do it. Just smash ’em in the head with a hammer; they’re just barely alive anyway.”
So I don’t know whether or not we’ll set up a fish ranch in our back yard. It seems like an awful lot of work for a little bit of fish every now and then. We’ll keep buying that frozen Chinese fish. After all, why would our friends in the People’s Republic of China wish us any harm?
Grant McGee hosts the weekday morning show on KTQM-FM in Clovis. Contact him at: